Why I created a marketing course for small business owners

Designing a marketing course for small business owners seemed like a no-brainer to me.

I’ve been working as a marketer within SMEs for 25 years in some capacity or another.

Having learned and understood the challenges, I wanted to help small business owners to short cut their marketing efforts and be more effective.

When it comes to marketing businesses at the smaller end of the scale, here are some difficult home truths:

  • There isn’t budget available to make a senior marketing hire
  • Often, the business owner themselves is doing the bulk of the marketing work
  • Working with agencies or consultancies is a no-go – just too cost prohibitive
  • If there is a marketer in-house, they’re typically quite junior (think marketing assistant / marketing executive level), maybe a marketing graduate, maybe not.
  • These junior marketers often feel lonely, out of their depth and have limited experience with no-one to learn from.
  • Similarly, the business owner themselves may be feeling our of their depth and have limited experience when it comes to marketing.

But here’s the thing.

Just because you’re small, doesn’t mean you can’t be mighty!

But it starts with accepting that marketing is a huge discipline.  Remember that:

  1.  you don’t know what you don’t know
  2.  you should be prepared to invest in some training and development

The good news is, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business or a corporate entity, the principles of marketing remain the same.

That’s why I created a marketing course for small business owners

I designed The SME Marketing Academy specifically for small businesses, their owners and any junior marketers within them.

This marketing course is created and delivered by me and my panel of experts to help small business owners and marketers to:

  • Develop strategic brand and marketing planning skills
  • Understand the three elements that make up a marketing strategy
  • Learn how to write a strong proposition
  • Build skills in critical marketing techniques such as segmentation, category creation & communications planning
  • Understand how to write and deliver an effective marketing plan
  • Eliminate imposter syndrome

It’s hard to find a small business marketing course online that delivers all of the above.

Usually because most market courses are quite niche and focused on one tactical aspect – such as paid search or copywriting.

But because this marketing course needs to be suitable is for small business owners, I’ve taken the time to include all the critical modules with wide-ranging practical, actionable information.

Marketing Course For Small Business Owners: The SME Marketing Academy

The SME Marketing Academy Syllabus

The Academy is split into two parts:

  1. The course covers 12 core modules which are listed below (currently being assessed for CPD Accreditation by The CPD Standards Office).
  2. Plus expert Q&As and presentations on a wide range of topics such as SEO, Telemarketing, Copywriting and Media Buying.

The materials are on-demand and available to review at your own pace – perfect for small business marketing where it’s all hands on deck.

And every month there is a live Q&A where you can ask me any burning questions.

In addition, there’s email support available for any questions you have in-between.

Unlike other marketing courses, The SME Marketing Academy has been designed specifically with small business owners in mind.

It’s an affordable, flexible solution to help you grow your business when consultancy fees or third party agencies are just a cost too far.

The 12 Core Modules

Module One: Market Orientation

This module covers what market orientation is, how it compares to other strategies, how some big brands use market orientation to gain advantage and how you can apply market orientation to your business.

This is the beginning of your marketing training.

Module One: Market Orientation


Module Two: Introduction to Research

Presented by Liz Davis, Market Research Expert from In The Know, this module is split into two parts.

Part one covers a wider introduction to the concept of research and insight.  Part two gives you information about tools you can use to gather your own data.

As this marketing course is for small business owners, there are some really practical, affordable tips on how to get your hands on quality research without breaking the bank.


Module Three: Brand Basics

This module covers a brief history of the term ‘brand’ and the concept of branding, the three types of branding and the fundamentals of brand and marketing planning.

Module Three: Brand Basics


Module Four: Proposition Writing

A forgotten art, but a critical part of your marketing strategy.

Defining your proposition and having clarity around your brand story is essential for building your brand in your customer’s mind.

This module takes you through how to write both proposition and brand story in detail.

Module Four: Proposition Writing


Module Five: Archetypes & Brands

This is a big one – with two parts!

Module Five covers what Archetypes are, the origins and concept and why they can be useful for brand building and management – especially for smaller businesses where budgets are extremely tight.

Module Five: Archetypes & Brands


Module Six: Brand Foundations

Brand Foundations are a critical part of brand and marketing planning.

In Module Six, we’ll cover how to establish a set of company and brand values, the definition of brand purpose, vision and mission and how to write brand foundation statements.

Module Six: Brand Foundations


Module Seven: How to create a brand pack

Here’s where all the hard work from the last six modules comes to fruition.

You will end this module knowing what a brand pack is, why it’s important and its typical contents.

We’ll be reviewing an example brand pack together before you can then start pulling your own brand pack together.

Module Seven: How to create a brand pack


Module Eight: Category Creation

According to Anthony Kennada, CMO at Gainsight, “Category creation has become one of the hottest topics in marketing”.

Find out why in Module Eight where we’ll be covering what Category Creation is, when it could be relevant for your brand, and how to approach it.

Module Eight: Category Creation


Module Nine: Marketing Plan Basics

I probably get asked this question more than any other – “How do I write a quality marketing plan?

This module covers all the basics and more, including what a marketing plan is, how to structure one and how to present it for maximum effect.

Module Nine: Marketing Plan Basics


Module Ten: Segmentation & Targeting

Find out what we mean by Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning.

We’ll review some approaches to Market Segmentation, how to choose your targets and how to write portraits and positioning statements for each target.

Module Ten: Segmentation & Targeting


Module Eleven: Communications Planning

In Communications Planning we’ll be focused on the ‘Get-To-By’ technique.

Essential for understanding how your marketing plan translates to communications (tactical) activity.

Module Eleven: Communications Planning


Module Twelve: Week One in a New Marketing Role

This final core module tells you how to approach your new marketing role from the very start.

Even if you’re not a marketer but you’re a small business owner, this module will tell you all the things you should be doing from the beginning.

Or what you should be expecting your new marketing hire to be doing.

Module Twelve: Week One in a New Marketing Role


What makes this marketing course different to other business marketing courses?

Most marketing courses aren’t designed for small businesses owners.

I could see there was a real gap in the market for well-rounded learning.

The SME Marketing Academy is all about providing the foundational knowledge you need to be an effective marketer (and grow your business).

Most marketing courses cover specialist subjects where to get any level of understanding in the niche you must do a deep dive for a day or two.

And that typically leads to a higher priced course that doesn’t make you an all round better marketer because the subject is so niche.

I often say to my clients to be wary of digital marketing training courses.

Over my 25 years I’ve attended a number of these marketing courses either by self paying or funded by the business I was working with at the time.

The problem is, whilst these courses go deep on very specific topics, they don’t provide a much broader understanding of marketing.

And let’s face it, most small business owners are will be spending their time focused on overall business and marketing strategy rather than bidding on search terms on Google.

Are these marketing courses for beginners?

The SME Marketing Academy is suitable for beginner and intermediate marketers.

If you have less than 5 years’ experience, whether you’re a small business owner or a marketer, then this course is designed specifically for you.

What is The SME Marketing Academy really like?

I’m going to let Alice, one of The Academy members, tell you in her own words:

A marketing course for small business owners that will be CPD Accredited

The 12 Core Modules in The SME Marketing Academy are currently being assessed and we anticipate accreditation will be granted by Summer 2023.

The CPD Standards Office is a world-leading CPD accreditation service.

CPD is the acronym for “Continuing Professional Development“.

The CPD accreditation term describes the process for verifying the educational authority of training, online education and coaching.

It ensures the learning activities offered conform to industry standards.

Where can I find out more about The SME Marketing Academy?

If you’re a small business owner looking for marketing training for yourself or for someone in your team, let’s have a chat.

Take a look at my contact details

Or send me a DM on LinkedIn

How to sign up

If you’re ready to get started, head on over to The SME Marketing Academy enrolment page.

I look forward to seeing you on the inside!